Yum China launches new plastic reduction initiatives

The company has stepped up efforts to provide sustainable options for consumers.

Yum China, the owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant chains in China, has announced the launch of a series of plastic reduction and environmentally friendly packaging initiatives across its brands in line with the latest regulations in China. This includes replacing existing plastic packaging with paper straws, paper bags, and biodegradable plastic bags.

As a result of these initiatives, Yum China expects a reduction of approximately 8,000 tonnes of non-degradable plastics annually starting this year.

KFC China launched a Be Natural, Be You sustainability campaign to enhance consumers’ awareness of environmental protection and encourage more sustainable lifestyles, including reducing the use of disposable plastic packaging and better waste sorting. From January 2021, all KFC restaurants in China will cease using plastic straws and over 90% of KFC restaurants will replace disposable plastic cutlery with wooden cutlery for dine-in and takeaway.

In addition, non-degradable plastic bags used for delivery and takeaway in over 50% KFC restaurants will be replaced with paper bags or biodegradable plastic bags. By 2025, all KFC restaurants will phase out non-degradable plastic bags and cutlery in mainland China.

As of the end of 2020, all Pizza Hut restaurants in China have eliminated the use of plastic straws. At the same time, over 70% of Pizza hut restaurants across the country have replaced existing plastic bags with paper bags or biodegradable plastic bags. Building on these achievements, Pizza hut will eliminate the use of non-degradable plastic bags by the end of 2022.

In addition to complying with regulatory requirements, these latest actions reflect Yum China’s company-wide packaging strategy that aims to reduce disposable packaging from source through the use of new packaging solutions, materials as well as technologies. The strategy includes ensuring that all customer facing, plastic-based packaging is recyclable, refusing to purchase paper products from suppliers that cause deforestation, and working towards a 30% reduction on non-degradable plastic packaging weight by 2025.

Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China, commented: “The new plastic reduction initiatives reinforce our sustainability strategy to drive meaningful change through packaging innovation and reduction. In line with our long-term commitment of supporting economic, social and environmental development, we are commitment to working with customers, partners and all other stakeholders to promote a more sustainable future.”